A welcomed late-surprise at the EICMA show in Milan, two Italian names in small-displacement racing have come together to get young riders on the race track.
I am of course talking about Aprilia and Ohvale, which have collaborated to build the Aprilia RS 250 SP race bike.
A purpose built racing machine, the Aprilia RS 250 SP is like a bigger Ohvale in its presentation, complete with 17″ wheels, and all the high-performance parts you would expect to see on a proper racing machine.
We have been giving Harley-Davidson a hard time about calling its new 950cc roadster model a “streetfighter” when the bike obviously not up to the task, and it seems the American brand has been listening.
Renaming the Streetfighter model now the Harley-Davidson Bronx, this 975cc street bike seems more suited to its name, especially now that the Bar & Shield brand is willing to talk more about details.
While still expected to be a (late) 2020 model motorcycle (so 2021?), it is surprising that Harley-Davidson didn’t debut the production-ready Bronx at EICMA (or any of the other trade shows this season). And with less than a year from its release, we have only a handful of specifics about this bike, many of which Harley-Davidson just sent out.
Is there a more iconic motorcycle brand from Italy than Bimota? I think you could make some arguments to the contrary, but you would be hard-pressed to deny that the brainchild of Valerio Bianchi, Giuseppe Morri, and Massimo Tamburini hasn’t produced some of the most impactful and drool-worthy motorcycles in the past 50 years.
Sadly, the story of Bimota is not always a happy one, and after a failed restart by Swiss investors Marco Chiancianesi and Daniele Longoni, the Italian brand seemed like it was finally set for the deadpool. But then, something interesting happened.
About six weeks ago, news started circulating that Bimota was to be reborn again…and that Kawasaki had purchased the now defunct Italian marque. Well, we have good news for Bimota fans and motorcyclists alike. Bimota is back!
And to get things started right, we have been leaked images of the company’s first new creation, the Bimota TesiH2, and it looks very, very good.
This is a story we broke a eight months ago finally coming true. The 790 engine platform from KTM has finally grown into the 890 platform that is ready for the Euro 5 emissions requirements.
And if you will allow us to toot our own horn just a little bit more, our predictions of an up-spec middleweight Duke have turned out true as well.
Now, while we may be patting ourselves on the back here, the real winners are all the sport bike enthusiasts out there, because the best middleweight naked on the market just got better, in just about every way. Say hello to the KTM 890 Duke R.
It has taken a long time to wrangle this bike into existence, but the KTM 390 Adventure is officially a thing now and coming in 2020.
I could look back through the pages of Asphalt & Rubber, and see when we first started talking about this small-sized ADV bike, but it would be downright depressing for the Austrian brand. It has been…a while in the making, let’s just say that.
The good news though is that the KTM 390 Adventure arrives with an exclamation point, and it is certain to dominate in markets where the 373cc engine is considered quite large and peppy. It should be fun in the western markets too.
Every year, for the past five years, Husqvarna has worked like clockwork at the EIMCA show in Milan. This is because the Swedish variant from KTM has been steady in its approach of releasing one new street bike in Milan, and one new concept model for possible future production. For 2019, this trend continues.
Behold the Husqvarna Norden 901 concept, a uniquely styled adventure-tourer, with an 899cc parallel-twin engine, and plenty of styling cues to keep your pouring over the high-resolution photos below.
As the name suggests, the Norden 901 gets the upgraded “890” engine from the KTM 890 Duke R, but fit into a package that is similar to the KTM 790 Adventure platform.
They call it The Beast, and for good reason, because the KTM 1290 Super Duke is a v-twin monster for the street, and now for the 2020 model year, it is getting even more beastly as it just debuted at EICMA.
Instead of giving the KTM 1290 Super Duke R a ridiculous top power figure (peak horsepwoer remains at 177hp (132 kW), the Austrians focused on coaxing more tire-shredding torque from the Super Duke R. As such, a whopping 103 lbs•ft (140 Nm) of torque is on tap at 8,000 rpm.
The changes for 2020 don’t stop there though, as a new chassis has been thrown into the mix, which is closely based off what was seen on the KTM RC8 superbike. The Beast even loses weight in the process, with a claimed 416 lbs (189kg) when dry.
How do you follow up a class-killing motorcycle like the Aprilia RS 660? You turn around and do it again, in a different category. That is what the Aprilia Tuono 660 aims to do next year, with the concept of the machine debuting today at EICMA.
Based off the same parallel-twin engine design, the Aprilia Tuono 660 makes 95hp – only a 5hp difference to its 100hp full-fairing sibling.
It is strange that Aprilia is talking power figures so soon, but we suspect it is to whet our appetites on the new Tuono 660. The Italian brand has signaled too that a 46hp (34 kW) A2 license compliant model will also be available next year.
One of the most anticipated motorcycles for the 2019 EICMA show, we have been waiting for the 2020 Aprilia RS 660 to set the middleweight twins category on its head, and now that we have the spec sheet, we know that it will.
Try this on for size: 100hp from the 660cc parallel-twin engine, in a package that weighs 372 lbs (dry). Even with the fuzzy math the comes from dry to wet weight conversions, it is clear that the Aprilia RS 660 is going to lead its class on power-to-weight ratios.
But the Italian aren’t stopping there with their twin-cylinder assault. The 2020 Aprilia RS 660 also comes with the brand’s robust APRC electronics suite, which means IMU-powered traction control, wheelie control, and cornering ABS, along with an up/down quickshifter, cruise control, and switchable power modes.
A bike that we knew we would see at the 2019 EICMA show, it didn’t surprise us when the BMW S1000XR rolled onto the stage in Milan, but we are certainly glad that we saw it.
Based off the new BMW S1000RR platform, the 2020 BMW S1000XR takes that superbike DNA, and puts it into an adventure-sport format.
This means long-travel suspension, plenty of wind protection, all the damn farkles, and the horsepower to get it all there with a smile on your face.
Every year at EICMA, we can look forward to some intriguing concepts from Honda’s design team in Europe.
Now in its fifth year of showcasing work, there are two things that we can say about Honda’s Rome R&D work: the concepts will likely be dead sexy, and they will likely be based off the venerable Honda CBR650 platform.
Today is no different, as we can see from the striking lines of this light blue crossover, which is complete with the iconic sweeping four-pipe CB header.